Pretty Darn Healthy Homemade Granola

Granola-05

O granola, how I love thee! Such sweet, oaty, crack-like goodness, cunningly marketed as a health food.

I've wanted to make my own for years but was put off by the oil and sugar found in most recipes. I don't mind a bit of oil or sugar but The Mothership raised me to believe those things have no place on the everyday breakfast table. Coco Pops were more evil than Stalin in our household.

I've obediently stuck to unsweetened muesli or porridge as an adult, but I'm haunted by the memory of a Marks & Spencer number called Seriously Nutty Crunch. I bought it just the once in 2003 when I first moved to Scotland and finally understood folks who ate cereal straight from the box. Phwoar. Nutritionally speaking it was basically crushed up cookies, but ever since I've longed for CRUNCH in the morning.

Last year I bookmarked Orangette's acclaimed adaptation of a Nigella Lawson recipe, but it had quite a bit of honey and brown rice syrup so I knew I'd go Seriously Nutty if I made it. I also found a few apple juice-sweetened recipes but they still contained a fair whack of oil or butter.

Then recently in one of those random blog excursions, I was staring at a photo of a cupcake then clicked a link then another then another and landed on a blog called Delicious By Nature where there was a granola with no oil, just one tablespoon of maple syrup and a blasted-up banana as the main sweetener.

It sounded too weird to possibly work, but work it did! It was proper crunchy like the Seriously Nutty stuff, but with a mild sweetness that falls into my personal definition of a genuinely healthy breakfast. No bullshit calories here. I was worried it would taste too banana-y but the flavour is subtle.

You could go as poncy as you like with the ingredients but the basic version contains ordinary things I already had in the cupboard: oats, seeds and/or nuts of your choice (I used sunflower and walnuts), cinnamon, vanilla extract, maple syrup (I subbed honey), a pinch of salt (optional) and a trusty banana!

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All you do is whizz the 'nana into oblivion along with some water, the cinnamon and the dod of honey, resulting in an unsightly brown goo.

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Stir that into the dry ingredients, spread it out on a baking tray then bake for about 40 minutes, stirring regularly.

The original recipe said put it on a foil lined tray which gave me soggy granola welded to foil.

Granola-04

I hacked it off into a non-stick roasting tin then fluffed it up, returned it to the oven and it turned out beautifully.

BANANA GRANOLA

Serves: about 6
Source: Delicious By Nature

200g (2 cups) rolled oats
(I used jumbo oats. You might need more if your banana is huuuuge and the mixture looks too wet)
1 ripe or frozen banana
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp sea salt
30g (1/4 cup) walnuts, chopped
30g (1/4 cup) sunflower seeds

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F.
  2. In a blender or wee food processor, zap together the banana, water, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, and sea salt until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the banana goo with the dry ingredients.
  4. Lay out the mixture in a single layer on a baking tray, either non-stick or lined with baking paper.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes until oats are starting to brown. Check every ten minutes and give it a good stir, breaking up any big clumps. Don't panic if it looks really soggy to start with, it does crisp up eventually!
  6. Remove from the oven or let cool inside the switched-off oven if your oven is rubbish like mine.
  7. Crunch away with milk or yogurt n fruit. Huzzah!

I don't know how long this would last, considering it contains a fresh banana and all. This batch lasted less than a day in our house as Dr G was particularly enthusiastic. I can't wait to try again with different nuts or seeds. Maybe a shake of nutmeg too. You could add dried fruit of course but I like my granola fairly plain. I reckon pecans would be brilliant but they can be pricey… walnuts are a good value nut.

Granola-05

(I don't eat breakfast on the grass; it's just impossible to get decent natural light inside our house of an afternoon now that summer is dead and gone. Sniff sniff.)

UPDATE:
For those who were asking about the calorie content, Banana-granolaclick here. This is based on 6 servings. Personally I would get 8+ servings out of it, but a lot got stuck on the foil! It also depends on the way you use granola. You'd get less serves if you like a bowlful with milk, but I use it more as a condiment on top of my fruit and yogurt, so it goes further.

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51 thoughts on “Pretty Darn Healthy Homemade Granola

  1. Looks delicious! Although, to be honest, I have had to outlaw all granola-like products, even the healthy ones (except as a special treat) – they all make me go Seriously Nutty!

  2. That looks fantastic! I’m a little bit dangerous around granola, so I’d have to make it when all the kids were hungry and would help me eat it all!

    I like your term, “random blog excursions” – very true.

  3. Sounds & looks way too srummy to be healthy.
    I thought I way the only person on the planet whose mum didn’t allow coco pops!

  4. Thanks for the recipe! I will definitely be trying this. The granola I make is much more unhealthy. ;)

    When I make granola I use parchment paper – works great, no sticking, no mess, and you can re-use the sheets of parchment for cookies or wrapping other food. Those baking mats would probably work well too but I don’t have one.

  5. Yum – looks delicious! I’ve been vaguely bookmarking healthier granolas for a while but this is definitely the healthiest I’ve seen. I’m so glad we’re well stocked with bananas1

  6. This recipe is almost an answer to prayer (except that I didn’t really pray about granola…) But seriously, I have been wanting to make some granola for a while now but didn’t because it is so costly (in calories) and I knew I would eat too much of it!

    I will definitely be trying this.

  7. Thank you thank you thank you! I have been searching high and low for a recipe for granola without oil. The closest I’ve come is one that calls for a cup of maple syrup. I’ve been using it but always feel guilty about all the sugar in maple syrup. I’m literally heading into the kitchen now to make this!

  8. I’ve been reading Orangette for years, and I’m so gutted that the past 6+ months or so she’s hardly been posting any recipes…. I guess it’s to be understood, as she’s embarked on exciting new life an’ all, but still… :(

  9. Err, sorry, that was a b8it random of me. Wanted to say also that I love how you photograph your cookery successes on the lawn. ;) x x

  10. I would love to have the time or the inclination to sit outside on the grass, under a tree, eating my homemade granola. Just before I headed off to tend the animals and mend some fences, sounds pretty dreamy to me.

  11. I was pretty excited to try this until I read the bit at the end that said your summer was dead and gone! Summer dead and gone in September?!!!! There’s no amount of granola that can make up for that low blow.

  12. Yeah, I go a little too crazy on granola. But it looks awesome! I’m not a huge banana fan but I bet I wouldn’t mind it (though the pumpkin suggested in the comments sounded AWESOME)!

  13. Now I do like that idea Shauna, how clever. I also love granola but mostly avoid it as there’s far tooooo much vegetable fat and sugar for my liking. I’ve made my own versions, sweetening with a bit of honey and leaving out the oil entirely. They’ve been tasty, but end up more as a toasted muesli, rather than a real granola.

    I shall try this out *very* soon.

  14. Any suggestions for those allergic to banana? It gets used a lot to make things hang together but there must be something else that would work???

  15. now I have my favourite microwave muesli but this granola is very tempting – I am quite enjoying bananas at the moment so maybe it is the time for me to try a new one (btw – aren’t you an aussie who says muesli or is there a difference between granola and muesli I am not aware of)

  16. Shauna – Thank you so much for visiting my site and for sharing this recipe! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I must admit I was a little nervous when I started reading as I know not everyone likes the “all natural” foods all the time :). You’ve inspired me to remake my own recipe as well with some of your great suggestions.

    Thanks again for finding my site – I look forward to exploring yours more!

  17. Kathryn – I’d suggest applesauce if you can’t use the pureed bananas. Look for an unsweetened thick one, or better yet, make your own. It may not get quite as “granola-y” but I think it just might work!

  18. I’ve been lurking and enjoying your blog and book. I can’t do bananas but might try the applesauce version suggested. For those still in search of healthy commercial granola in the US (and Shauna if you come to Baltimore or whatever), I love Bear Naked Fit vanilla almond crunch: no oils, 2.5 g fat, 4 g sugar. It doesn’t always stay clustered and it is $4.99 at Whole Foods, but it is yummy and sometimes goes on sale. I find most low-fat granola to be very high in sugar–this tastes sweet enough for me without tasting like cookies.

  19. Totally, totally unrelated, but I have a story of gym scale sadness that you might understand more than anyone around me…

    I have been fretting and feeling guilty about being *so huge* because when I read the gym scales I was weighing in at a good 5kg heavier than I thought I was, 10-15 more than I wanted to be… And then on Monday I realised that I had misread the heavy black unmarked 5kg mark as the next 10kg mark, and so was actually 5kg less than I have been weighing for the last few months! *relieved sigh*

    Of course, nothing has shifted in the last few weeks still, but at least it’s not shifting where I thought it was, not 5kg heavier than I thought…

    Happiest gym day in *ages*. :D

  20. OH MY GOSH.

    Why didn’t I think of blending a banana and using that in granola? Shauna that is such a good idea.

    …and here I was thinking that I had created a super healthy granola recipe last week. Hurray for finding even more healthy versions!

  21. Oh how I love you. I too love granola but refuse to have it anywhere near me due to the vast amount of sugar and oil….so this looks perfect.

  22. Looks taste-tastic, Shauny!

    Now, I don’t know why, but when I read this:

    walnuts are a good value nut

    I started laughing. Maybe because it’s such an earnest, emphatic statement. I can almost imagine it as a WW2 morale boosting poster:

    WALNUTS! A GOOD VALUE NUT.

    Forget those pecans! Or maybe I’m just delirious.

  23. My mother has been toying with a granola recipe for about a month now. It always comes out burnt and a little bitter. It tastes better as breakfast cereal more than it does a standalone snack. Maybe we’ll give this one a try soon.

    Thanks for the recipe.

  24. Oooohhh! I was just telling daughter #2 yesterday that I don’t eat granola because of the fat and coconut, but that I miss it so much. Thank you for that recipe. I heart you even more, if that’s possible :)

  25. Hi
    just been directed to this blog(?) i LOVE IT!!!
    As for this granola recipe…i think i shall make it with the apple sauce and file it next to my really delish raspberry muffins.
    Can anyone tell me how may calories (approx) there would be in this?
    ta

  26. I found this granola recipe that I really enjoy, although I like to double the water/honey mixture and I use slivered almonds instead of walnuts. Makes a great cereal with some raisins sprinkled on top!

    link to mrbreakfast.com

  27. hello people!
    i’ve been out of town this week so WAY behind again.
    thanks for those who stepped in with answers to the comment questions. i’ve also added calorie info to the entry.

    @Amanda – that sounds bloody tasty, will defo remember the name. and thanks for reading the book :)

    @SarahB – hehe sounds like a great day indeed :D

    @Momo – that sentence cracked me the hell up too. i should pitch it to the Walnut Board!

  28. Ooooh. That sounds sooo yummy. And the photos are absolutely necessary – I now ‘get’ how I would make such a gorgeous dish.

    Thank you for providing us with something that has “no bulls*t calories”; that made me laugh.

    Keep cooking!

    xxxxxxxx

  29. Can’t wait to try this recipe. Please please please let me know how you add the nutrient breakdown with the pop-up box!!!!!!

    Many thanks,
    Lori

  30. @lori – It’s a screenshot from the online calorie counter I sometimes use to track my food. it lets you create recipes, you just search for the ingredients in the database. Then I just took a screenshot of the result & stuck it in the entry.

  31. Hi! I just recently discovered your blog, and was very thankful for this recipe. Tried it today, and with a couple minor tweaks (adding some splenda) will be making this a staple!

    I also blogged about it here: link to runbetty.blogspot.com

    in case you’d like to take a look!

    Thanks, and keep up the great posts! I enjoy reading.

  32. I am SO making this as soon as I get paid so I can buy a banana!! Thank you so much for an ACTUAL healthy granola, I’ve only seen ones loaded with either honey, egg, butter, molasses, etc, for the binding. And I’m lost too, on the difference between meusli and granola? I thought they were two names for the same thing?

  33. I must be the only one who actually made it! It was great and indredibly healthy but I would cook it a bit less. It got too dark and burnt. But I will definitely make it again. A great way to use those brown bananas. Thks

  34. Hi,
    What is the serving size for the granola? It says 212 calories, but not the serving size. Thanks.

  35. Hi Mandy, as per the notes beside the nutrition link, it serves 6. Let us know if you try it, it’s pretty darn tasty! :)

  36. This was delicious! It’s more chewy than crunchy, but it’s obviously much lower in fat than traditional granola. Wish I knew how long it will keep at room temp, as I’m the only one in my household who eats granola.

  37. I wonder how it would be if you boiled the banana puree, waited for it to cool slightly and then added it to the granola..?

  38. Hey! Thanks so much for this recipe – it was amazing! I was so happy with how healthy it was, and delicious, too! One thing I am going to try next time is using applesauce instead of banana. Two things you can try – one, baking the granola on parchment paper, and freezing the granola you don’t eat right away! In my family, we freeze almost everything. And that way, it stays fresh for longer … not to mention super cold and crunchy when you pull it out to eat it ;) I pinned this too, very impressed!